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Anti-Bullying Policy

ANTI-BULLYING POLICY
It is every skater’s right to enjoy their sport in a safe environment, free of humiliation and abuse. It is the responsibility of all to create a caring, calm atmosphere in which everyone feels supported, secure and protected. As a club we will not tolerate any form of victimization of one person by another.

Aims of the Policy

  • To create an atmosphere which encourages skaters “to tell” and when they do, to ensure that we listen, believe, investigate and act as outlined in the guidelines.
  • To encourage all skaters to feel responsible for the effect of their actions on other people and on the atmosphere of the club.
  • Be vigilant in order to observe when bullying is occurring.
  • Encourage children/vulnerable adults to inform adults of any situation in which bullying might be occurring.
  • Intervene to prevent cases of bullying from continuing.
  • Work with individuals involved in order to modify their behaviour and attitudes, to involve support agencies and inform the Governing body when necessary.
  • Use appropriate sanctions against an individual acting in an inappropriate manner towards another, as outlined in the guidelines.
  • Inform and seek the support of parents of all skaters as they need to know that positive action will be taken and the matter will be handled discretely and sensitively.

Guidelines for the Policy

“A bully is someone who deliberately hurts, threatens, frightens or causes distress to someone else”.

Bullying is a learned behaviour, therefore it can be changed. All skaters must be encouraged to report incidents of bullying to any adult that they can trust; in addition two appointed young adults shall assist in ‘communication’ difficulties.

All incidents of bullying should be recorded by the named person in charge of child (vulnerable adult) protection.

When appropriate, skaters should be given the opportunity to discuss bullying and strategies to deal with it. They need to be made aware of procedures to follow so that they know what to do if they or a friend are being bullied.

All incidents of bullying either physical, ICT, or verbal, should be acted upon immediately to ensure it stops by taking the appropriate action.

All isolated areas such as toilets should be monitored as these have been identified as areas where bullying is most likely to take place.

All skaters and parents should be involved in the implementation of the anti bullying policy.

Guidelines for Skaters and Parents

In order to ensure correct implementation of the anti-bullying policy it is vital that we are all following the same procedures when an incident of bullying is reported to us or we suspect someone is being bullied.

What are the signs of bullying?

  • Absences / lateness when the skater is obviously keen to skate.
  • Becoming withdrawn.
  • Lack of interest, deterioration of skating standard.
  • Isolation from others.
  • A skater who is distressed but reluctant to say what is wrong.
  • Skaters whose equipment is lost or damaged without explanation.
  • Not eating properly – weight loss
  • Loitering after sessions
  • Attention seeking behaviour
  • Aggressive behaviour from a normally calm person
  • Unexplained scratches, bruises etc.

Verbal / Emotional

Name calling, teasing, taunting, spreading rumours, gossip, this could also include ratial and sexual harassment.

Physical

Intimidation, pushing, kicking, hitting, rude gestures, damage to property / clothing.

Silent

Isolating the victim by getting others to ignore him/her.

Extortion

Taking things without permission, demanding money.

All of these forms of bullying include the use of threat or fear. As a club we will not tolerate any form of bullying, therefore the following views need to be dismissed:

  • It’s all part of growing up – character building.
  • It’s just a phrase it will sort itself out.
  • Boys will be boys.
  • Survival of the fittest.
  • They are telling tales and need to look after themselves.

How do we encourage skaters to tell?

  • We encourage an atmosphere within the club where telling is not “grassing”. This can be achieved by ensuring that the victim has confidentiality.
  • Explaining that telling will allow council of the bullies because they need help, their behaviour is thoroughly anti-social and will not be tolerated. If the victims or friends do not tell there is very little that we can do to stop it and their misery will continue allowing the bully to win.
  • Over a period of time individuals need to see that any reported incidents of bullying are acted upon, as this will encourage other to tell.
  • By involving parents, encourage them to assist in spotting the signs and informing the designated person in charge of anti-bullying procedure. It is important that they are also offered confidentiality.

Who should victims / friends tell?

Any adult that they trust.

If a child cannot tell an adult, then perhaps their friend who in turn then report it to the designated person in charge of anti-bullying procedure. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO TELL.

When incidents of bullying have been identified this routine should be followed by all.

  • The victim should be asked to record the events in writing with parental help if necessary. The alleged bully should be asked to record the events in writing – again under parental supervision if necessary.
  • Any independent witnesses should also make a statement.
  • The designated person in charge will record and discussion with parties involved either individually or if appropriately together. In serious cases the victim, alleged person, parents/guardians of both parties may request or be sent copies of the reports.
  • Where necessary a response to the designated person may be requested.
  • All documentation will be filed and maintained by the designated person in charge of anti-bullying procedure.

What sort of intervention strategies should be used to prevent bullying continuing?

  • Encourage the victim to tell their friends.
  • Talk to the bully and the victim. Note, this could be very difficult for the victim.
  • Take immediate decisive action. Assess whether it is bullying (refer to definition).
  • Identify the bully, report the incident, this will allow the designated person to monitor incidents and check that the bullying is not taking place ‘en masse’ by the same person.
  • Try to protect covertly the perpetual victim by providing a safe haven.
  • Try to encourage positive responses from victims and the bully to build up their self esteem in front of their peers.
  • Physical separation in sessions.
  • Inform individuals and parents of consequences.

What are appropriate sanctions?

  • Get the bully to admit their behaviour – do not label them a bully.
  • Educate the ‘bully’. Offer counseling with the aim of modifying their behaviour. Often it is the case that they have ‘learned’ this behaviour simply because they are being bullied themselves.
  • Inform parents. If bullying continues get the parents to come in and explain what will happen should this behaviour continue.
  • Withdraw rights if they are not accepting their responsibilities (competition entry).
  • Isolate the bully away from others during breaks.
  • Involve the Police if physical assault has taken place.
  • Exclusion from the club if behaviour is not modified.

Generally those bullied are physically weaker and often younger than their persecutors. Many are lonely children with few friends and have difficulty asserting themselves.

Some people are both bullies and victims.

We must constantly make it clear to all threat bullying is not tolerated and reinforce that message at every opportunity.

If you have the slightest suspicion that a child is becoming a victim, please bring it to the immediate attention of the designated person in charge of anti-bullying procedure.

What should a skater do if they are being bullied?

  • Remind yourself that you have every right to come and feel safe and secure and that what they are doing is wrong and will not be tolerated by the club. You do not have to suffer in silence.
  • Try not to show that their actions are affecting you. Ignore it, do not show them that they are upsetting you.
  • Although difficult in this situation try to be assertive – say ‘No’.
  • At breaks and to and from club stay with others, avoid being on your own as this provides an ideal opportunity for the ‘bully.
  • Stay close to adults who you see as vigilant and who you think will disapprove of bullying.
  • Don’t fight back, this plays into the bully’s hands and often makes things worse.
  • Tell an adult you trust, something will be done.
  • Keep a diary of incidents, include when, where, who, how and name any witnesses.
  • Do not keep silent, the bully does not want you to tell because they know that their behaviour is considered unacceptable and will be acted upon to see it changes. Silence is a bully’s greatest weapon. If you remain silent a bully can and will bully you at any time.

Designated persons in Charge:

  • Paula Callaghan – FARS CPU + Secondary School Teacher
  • Bill Carroll – FARS CPU + ex Police
  • Nikki Callaghan – FARS CPU